Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Oct 082021

One of the visual novels I wanted to cover this October was Chaos;Child, after I heard it involves psychological horror. To be safe, I looked it up to double check that it’s fine to play Chaos;Child without playing the earlier, unlocalized Chaos;Head.

The general consensus was that you can, but it’s definitely not recommended.

So, yes. I bought a Japanese copy of Chaos;Head and used the fan translation in order to read it.

And… I’m glad I did!

Chaos;Head is a dark visual novel, much darker than Steins;Gate despite them belonging to the same series. The first few chapters in particular filled me with a great sense of paranoia and dread, and it has some of the most gruesome murders I’ve seen in any game.

The story follows a loner otaku named Takumi, who avoids people as much as possible, frequently suffers from delusions, and has felt an unknown gaze watching him ever since he was a child.

Now a twisted serial murder case has everyone’s attention in Shibuya, and Takumi finds himself caught up in it when an image showing the crime scene is sent to him a day before it happens.

I didn’t mind Takumi as a protagonist as much as some people do. While he’s certainly not the most noble character, I sympathized with his paranoia and extreme social anxiety.

Some of his delusions can be triggered by the player, when green and red indicators appear at the top of the screen at certain points in the story. Clicking the green one usually causes a positive or sexual delusion. Clicking the red one usually causes a horrific or cynical delusion. The line blurs a little as the game goes on, and there’s also the option of not clicking either delusion.

What I find even more interesting is its use of paranoia, though. Takumi is paranoid, there’s no doubt about it. Yet Chaos;Head piles up so many unsettling mysteries that the player becomes paranoid too.

There were points when I could clearly dismiss Takumi’s reactions as paranoia, but that just meant I felt I couldn’t necessarily trust him to be a reliable narrator any more than I could trust what other characters were saying. It does an excellent job of making the player mistrust everything and everyone.

Chaos;Head is a dark, fascinating story. The ending left me with several questions and a few apparent plot holes, but it sounds a lot is fixed by the updated re-released Chaos;Head Noah, which unfortunately doesn’t have a translation yet. I’m happy I read it, not just to improve my experience with Chaos;Child (and apparently Robotics;Notes also benefits from having read Chaos;Head), but because it’s a great visual novel in its own right.

Since Chaos;Head Noah is said to be a huge improvement, I look forward to the day when I can read that… although I can’t help but hope it will get an official translation someday.

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  6 Responses to “Celebrating All Things Spooky: Chaos;Head”

  1. Sounds like we should really hope for an official translation of that Noah game someday. But also, most gruesome in any game??? And you play a lot of horror games, not to mention zero escape and Danganronpa… Must have been really dark :O

    • It could be partly bias since I just finished Chaos;Head so it’s fresh in my mind, but I’m trying to think of anything from those games that was as twisted as some of the Chaos;Head murders.

      (Spoilers, although it’s referenced pretty early since it’s the second of the murders, one of the murders involves a man having his stomach cut open while he’s still alive and conscious, a human fetus forced inside, and then being stitched back up and let go to die slowly while he tries to rip the stitches out.)

  2. […] things start to happen, it gets more and more unsettling, with a bit of that sense of paranoia I so enjoyed in Chaos;Head (although not to the same […]

  3. […] I played and reviewed the visual novel Chaos;Head this October, I mentioned how unfortunate it is that there is no […]

  4. […] played Chaos;Head with the fan translation last October and loved it, so I’m absolutely picking up this new […]

  5. […] jumping into the deep end since the closest I’ve come to anything of the kind was playing the fan translation of Chaos;Head, a PC game I could simply buy, download, and apply the patch to. So actually figuring out how to […]

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